Brenda has a busy and varied practice in all areas of criminal defence and inquests. She strives to achieve successful outcomes in all her cases, whether instructed as sole counsel or as a led junior.
Brenda has a vibrant practice in the Crown Court with focus on serious crime. She has a particular interest in representing women, children and those with mental health problems. Brenda has significant experience representing those who are unfit to plead and / or cannot effectively participate in their trial. She has defended against accusations of murder, terrorism, kidnap, false imprisonment, conspiracy to rob and firearms, robbery, drugs, immigration and dishonesty offences, including serious fraud. She is regularly instructed to represent in 'protest' cases. Additionally she has an active Appeal Court practice, regularly advising on and arguing appeals against conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal.
R v Harrison & others - Central Criminal Court. Murder. Three defendants, all teenagers, accused of joint enterprise stabbing in a stairwell in Battersea in the course of an apparent cannabis transaction. Omar Harrison, the second defendant, was inside the stairwell while the stabbing occurred and had blood from the victim on his clothing. Following a trial involving cut-throat defences, the first and third defendants were convicted of murder while Mr Harrison was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter. Click here for more details.
R v Stancilas & Others - Central Criminal Court. Perverting the Course of Justice, in the context of a double murder and attempted murder. The defendant was the landlady of a public house in east London when a shooting occurred inside and outside the premises. Two men were shot and killed. A third man, Michael Smith (the first defendant at trial) was shot and injured by Kevin Powell (the third defendant at trial). Ms Stancilas was accused of two counts of perverting the course of justice by interfering with the crime scene and removing bullet casings. The trial lasted several months before the Common Serjeant of London. The defendant was acquitted of one count following a successful half time submission and convicted of the lesser count. Click here for more details.
R v AC & others - Central Criminal Court. Murder. The defendant faced a second trial on an allegation of murder, the jury having been discharged in his initial trial following a successful severance argument. It was alleged that the defendant was involved in the execution of the deceased, Larry Malone, and moments later had passed the murder weapon (a Mac 10 machine gun) on to another defendant for safe-keeping. The Crown's case relied on telephone evidence, knowledge of the victim and association with the movement of the murder weapon. Defendant was acquitted of murder and convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition. See here for mroe details.
R v McPherson & another - Central Criminal Court. Murder / Attempted murder. Defendant accused of shooting his co-defendant (Nankani) immediately after Nankani had fatally driven at the defendant's friend outside the Ministry of Sound nightclub.
R v Lee & another - Central Criminal Court. Murder. Defendant was the passenger in a car that reversed over and killed a pedestrian following an argument. Defendant acquitted. Co-defendant, the driver, was convicted on re-trial.
R v C & others, Central Criminal Court. Represented one of seven defendants accused of murder and attempted murder following a shooting at Streatham Ice Rink. Acquitted at half time.
R v S, Central Criminal Court. Allegation of attempted murder following a shooting in which the victim was shot in excess of 14 times and named the defendant as a perpetrator. Unanimously acquitted.
R v Uddin & another, Central Criminal Court. Allegations of murder and wounding with intent following the death of a waiter at an East End Indian Restaurant. Acquitted of murder, convicted of manslaughter.
R v Gassama & others, Leicester Crown Court - Conspiracy to kidnap and behead a British, Muslim soldier.
R v Christopher Lewis & Chad Kirnon,Croydon Crown Court. Represented a semi professional basketball player accused of importing class A drugs with an ex-England Cricketer - both running cut throat defences.
R v Levin & others - Hove Crown Court. Conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Represented one of 7 defendants cleared of conspiracy to cause criminal damage to a Brighton weapon manufacturer allegedly involved in the illegal supply of bomb release mechanisms to the Israeli Air Force. Approximately £200,000 damage was caused to the factory during the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, codenamed Operation Cast Lead. Click here for more details.
R v Shuabuzzaman & Uddin 2010 - appeal against sentence imposed for manslaughter. Sentence reduced from 13 years to 9 years.
R v Gordon & Others EWCA Crim 165 re the operation of and interaction between s 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 ("the 1967 Act") and s 240 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 ("the 2003 Act") and the impact on the sentencing process of time spent by defendants in custody on remand.
R v Carl O'Brien  EWCA Crim 311, re the unworkability of short-term tariffs for IPP sentences.
R v Tugwete  EWCA Crim 2290 re the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment on a single mother convicted of dishonesty offences.
Mark Bucknell v DPP  EWHC 1888 (Admin) re dispersal directions under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 s.30.
R v James (Desmond)  EWCA Crim 1810 re the imposition of an Anti Social Behaviour Order following a lengthy prison sentence.
In addition to her criminal practice, Brenda undertakes inquest work, representing the next of kin of those who have died or been killed.
Between March - May 2012 she appeared in the Belfast Coroner's Court, led by Karen Quinlivan QC, representing the families of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew, who were shot and killed by the SAS in October 1990.
Together with Dexter Dias QC, she represented the mother of Gareth Myatt, a child who died following restraint in the privately-run Rainsbrook detention centre - reported to be the longest inquest into a death in prison custody.
International Human Rights
Brenda has worked extensively in the field of human rights, both nationally and internationally, with a focus on women's rights, children's rights and the rule of law Brenda is on the Board of Trustees of Just for Kids Law, she is an Executive Committee member of the Bar Human Rights Committee and she works closely with organisations such as IWRAW Asia Pacific and the Kurdish Human Rights Project. She represents IWRAW Asia Pacific on the Steering Committee of the NGO coalition for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social & Cultural Rights. Having been an active participant in the drafting process at the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, she is now involved in the global campaign for the ratification of the OP.
In recent times she has travelled on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee to Kabul, Afghanistan to deliver a 3 day workshop on the rights of women and children. On behalf of the Kurdish Human Rights Project she travelled to Iraqi Kurdistan to deliver a cross border training on the rule of law and to South Eastern Turkey to deliver training on the rights of women and to undertake a fact-finding mission. On behalf of IWRAW Asia Pacific she has participated in conferences and training courses in Nairobi, New York, Warsaw and Geneva. She is a regional trainer on the use of the CEDAW Convention and its Optional Protocol.
Contributing author to Blackstone's Guide to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
Brenda studied at Queen's University, Belfast and before practicing at the London Bar, Brenda maintained a varied practice at the Northern Irish Bar, including crime, judicial review, inquests and employment law. She frequently combines work and travel and in December 2008, in combination with her attendance at the International Strategy Meeting on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Nairobi, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Just for Kids Law. In November 2012, she will run the New York Marathon in aid of Just for Kids Law. You can sponsor her by clicking here.
- Criminal Bar Association
- Inquest Lawyer's Group
- South Eastern Circuit
- Executive Committee Member of the Bar Human Rights Committee
Profile updated October 2012